ANDY MORRISON was "absolutely delighted" as Connah's Quay Nomads landed the first punch of the season by beating reigning champions The New Saints 1-0.

There has been plenty of talk about whether Nomads or Bala Town could truly challenge Saints' reign, although Morrison has played that down, certainly publicly.

But Nomads retained their place at the top of the table as Andy Owens scored a minute into the second-half, leaving Morrison pleased.

"I'm absolutely delighted," he declared as Nomads followed up their 7-0 thumping of Llanelli with victory over the champions

"You never know what to expect from the players this early in the season, but the first game was about flair and creativity and today, to be fair, we dominated the game in the first-half.

"We got our noses in-front and it is natural to sit back and try to defend that and we did that admirably like we do.

"I thought the players were fantastic. For 90 minutes, for John Danby not to have a save to make that is testament to the qualities of us as a defensive unit."

Nomads have added more players to their full time ranks during the summer, and Morrison hopes that his team see the benefits, perhaps not against TNS, but during next week's clash with Aberystwyth.

"They worked really hard," said Morrison. "I think hopefully going into the game against Aberystwyth you will see the benefits of going full time.

"I've beaten TNS before and then gone to Rhyl and got beat 2-0 with Airbus."

Bala Town slipped off the early pace as they were beaten 3-2 by hosts Barry Town United.

Chris Venables handed Bala a 12th minute lead, but goals from Jonathan Hood and Tom Fry turned the game around for Barry.

Bala had Sean Smith sent-off as they pressed for a leveller, which arrived through Venables.

But Barry were not to be denied victory as Kayne McLaggon struck five minutes from time.

Cheryl Foster, pictured, created history as she became the first female to referee a Welsh Premier match as Carmarthen and Llandudno played out a 0-0 draw.

The match, which saw Leo Smith make his Llandudno debut after joining on loan from Wrexham, passed without incident, the former Wales international tweeting: “Pleased to have refereed my first Welsh Premier League game this afternoon. Always learning.”

Attacker Smith, meanwhile, is relishing the chance to play some football after a frustrating time since making his breakthrough at Wrexham.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to going out and playing for Llandudno on loan. It should be an excellent opportunity for me.

“I know George (Harry) and Kai (Edwards) who were both at Wrexham a few years ago. I also know Zebb and Zyaac, Kai’s brothers who play for Llandudno and the manager is from my home town, so slotting in should be no problem.”

Wrexham boss Sam Ricketts believes the loan switch will do Smith the world of good, adding: “I am looking at getting Leo out to play some games at a good level. We have had an excellent start to the campaign with players retaining their places.

“I think Leo will go out and enjoy the experience and come back hunting for a place in our side. We will monitor his progress closely, I wish him well and the very best of luck during his time with Llandudno.”